MARSHALL, TX (KLTV) - The Marshal Fire Department has made progress in their investigation of a fire that destroyed a large home in Marshall on February 7. It happened in the 4600 block of Forest Trail around 4:30 a.m.
We took a look at the aftermath of the fire from Chopper 7 last Thursday and showed the pictures to Marshall's fire chief to see if it would help in the investigation.
It was Chief Reggie Cooper's first look at the fire scene. He was out of town when the home burned.
"This is incredible," Cooper commented.
He was taken aback by the scope of the damage from the fire and knew immediately where the origin of the fire was.
"This is just without even going to the site, which I was unable to get there," Cooper said.
He says judging from the most burned area, the origin of the fire is in the lower left of the picture. Cooper says during a fire investigation they start with the least damaged part of the house.
"We've got to work to the point of origin, or area of origin," Cooper said.
They also speak with witnesses and/or occupants of the structure.
"Coupled with the firefighters, or the secondary witnesses," Cooper said.
After the house cools, they can begin the physical investigation.
"We put all of that together and somehow have to make it make sense," Cooper said.
Fire Marshall Joe Dunagan took a look at the aerial photo, too.
"A lot of significant damage, especially towards this end of the house, and we did verify lightning had struck the house, or had struck in the area earlier," Dunagan revealed.
They had checked out lightning strikes with the National Weather Service. The view from above is a valuable angle to fire investigators.
"Aerial shots, they'll give us a better view. Typically if there is any roof remaining or if you're just looking at ground cover, it can show you burn patterns," Dunagan stated.
Of course, there is very little roof remaining, but an aerial view can still help trained eyes.
"What it does is it makes him more confident in where he has the area of origin as well," Cooper said.
Chief Cooper said there was no lightning in the area at the time of the fire call, but there was earlier. He believes the fire smoldered for hours before the fire spread.